Helping ServiceMaster Serve the Environment

By James Siegel, 2011 EDF Climate Corps Fellow at ServiceMaster, MIB Candidate at The Fletcher School, Tufts University

ServiceMaster is a Memphis-based leading provider of home and business services focused on lawn care, pest control and cleaning. And it’s where I completed my EDF Climate Corps fellowship this year. As an EDF Climate Corps fellow, my task was to sniff out energy savings for ServiceMaster and develop a practical, actionable plan to implement energy efficiency projects.

Walking in Memphis

Shortly after arriving in Memphis (and trying the delicious BBQ), I started work at ServiceMaster and familiarized myself with its high profile brands (e.g. TruGreen, Terminix, American Home Shield, Merry Maids, etc.).

ServiceMaster has already taken a few big steps on the environmental front, such as rolling out its second CSR report in 2010 and tracking its carbon footprint (a critical task given its large fleet and numerous branches). More importantly for my purposes, this year ServiceMaster participated in the EDF Climate Corps program for the second time.

No New Clunkers

With over 14,000 vehicles, ServiceMaster’s fleet is one of the largest in America and it’s responsible for 75% of ServiceMaster’s greenhouse gas emissions. Given the data, any credible environmental strategy must include the fleet.

While ServiceMaster already employs many low-cost fleet initiatives (e.g., idle limiting), I tapped the expertise of EDF Business’ fleet guru Jason Mathers and ultimately focused my efforts on developing the business case for hybrid vehicles and electric-only vehicles.  The hybrid vehicles improve fuel economy by up to 40 percent and reduce emissions by up to 30 percent. I found that if ServiceMaster were to invest in my fleet recommendations, it could reduce CO2 emissions by 143 metric tons annually.

Cutting Energy at the Office

ServiceMaster’s 2010 EDF Climate Corps fellow evaluated opportunities to improve ServiceMaster’s buildings around the country, laying a foundation for me to research new opportunities. I was ultimately able to identify lighting upgrades at the corporate headquarters that would reduce lighting consumption by over 90,000 kWh per year. The analysis showed that if the lighting retrofits were implemented at other relevant buildings on the ServiceMaster corporate campus, the company could cut 114,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, saving $15,500 in electricity costs.

The Next Level

The most exciting part of my summer (aside from the BBQ) has been a new hire at ServiceMaster named Jared Klepko. Jared—a high energy JD/MBA—is the new Energy and Facilities manager and will help carry forward all facility-specific projects. The timing couldn’t be better as it allows us to share thoughts on best practices regarding implementation of my above recommendations. I look forward to following ServiceMaster’s progress, and seeing the tangible results of our service at the firm.

EDF Climate Corps places specially-trained MBA and MPA students in companies, cities and universities to develop practical, actionable energy efficiency plans. Sign up to receive emails about EDF Climate Corps, including regular blog posts by our fellows. You can also visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to get regular updates about this project.